Northern Africa · Morocco
Outspoken in Directing Attention to Women’s Rights
Zahra Aderdour (46) is an incredible pioneer for women’s rights in rural Morocco. She is first and foremost a nurse trained in women’s healthcare and midwifery. Zahra works in Tighmi in the Tiznit province, a severely socially conservative town, in which women are not allowed to leave the house. When she started working at the health center, women did not attend. However, after many years working within this town and developing positive relationships with both men and women, she now assists rural women and children who were not served by healthcare professionals in the past. Her position allows her to teach women about hygiene, sanitation, disease prevention, and HIV/AIDS awareness. Additionally, she has led two training sessions for birth attendants.
Zahra has not only served others in her capacity as a health care provider; since 2009, she has served as one of two women in the Tighmi Rural Community Program, a government-sponsored organization to initiate human development work. In this capacity, Zahra has developed and executed numerous projects to help the impoverished and under-represented rural women of the surrounding villages. One of these projects was the successful building of a well in a village where 90% of the population was female.
Additionally, Zahra’s influence on the administration board allowed for toilet facilities to be built in a rural school for 100 children, electricity to be provided for the poor village, among numerous other projects. Zahra maintains personal relationships with many people within Tighmi, providing advice and help for countless women and children across the region. She has helped women and girls on innumerable occasions, whether through providing education or helping them through a difficult situation. Today, Zahra continues to fight for the rights of rural women within the Tighmi Rural Community.
In 2009, Zahra founded the first women’s association in Tighmi, the Association for Peace. This organization currently provides Arabic literacy lessons to over 60 women. There have been countless barriers Zahra has had to overcome to provide education for women in a male-dominated society. In fact, at one point, a letter was written and signed by over 100 Tighmi men voicing their concerns and threatening to use violence if Zahra continued to teach. With Zahra’s courage and dedication to provide healthcare, education, and basic human rights, she has positively affected the lives of women, children, and men across the province.